It’s a special Rage Index this month. If you believe the hysteria, the future of Our Great Nation was at stake last Thursday.
Normal news coverage ground to a halt. The mini-tornado that swept through Victoria, the National Apology for forced adoption and the entirety of the rest of the world were swept aside as Australia contemplated its imminent death.
ABC news dedicated both its news broadcast and the 7:30 Report to the death of democracy, relegating the Apology and other insignificant bits and pieces to the last few minutes of their show. The rest of the networks basically followed suit.
God knows what would have happened if there actually had been a leadership spill. Perhaps there would have been a full blown re-enactment, with the press gallery popping on costumes and acting out the various ministerial roles and Laurie Oakes narrating.
In the end, all that transpired was that a bunch of self-entitled blokes finally cleared out of the cabinet and left Gillard to get on with the job of running the country instead of baby-sitting their egos.
But don’t let that stop you venting your fury. After all, it wouldn’t be Australia if we weren’t making mountains out of molehills at every available opportunity.
So here’s a step-by-step guide on to how to burst a blood vessel:
Step one: Actually believe that Australia is in such a precarious position that changing the leader of the government will save our lives. For this delusion to hold, you’ll have to conveniently forget that we have one of the strongest economies in the OECD, one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world and we’re not in the middle of a civil war.
However, if you believe the far-right, our economic security is a complete myth and we actually are in a civil war. (Tony Abbott said so, so it must be true.)
Step Two: Believe that Kevin Rudd is the Great White Hope. This will involve forgetting that we pretty much hated him when he was kicked out last time. It would also be useful to deny that if he did become Prime Minister again, we’d pretty soon remember why he annoyed us so much and start demanding that Bill Shorten took over. Then we’d hate Shorten. See a pattern here?
Step Three: Believe that the future of Our Great Nation is so important that everything else should disappear. This will involve being abusive towards those who had the nerve to be upset that the National Apology was overshadowed. The Apology affected 250,000 people and as one person told me: ‘what’s a few women’s feelings compared to the future of our country?’ It’s a good point.
What is the future of our country if we can’t show compassion to those who have spent forty or fifty years living with the appalling cruelty and heartlessness that changed their lives and robbed them of their children? If compassion makes you roll your eyes and want to vomit, then the National Apology was probably going to make you angry whether there was a spill or not.
Step Four: This is a specialty one. It involves being a member of the press gallery. You’ve got a number of ways to be furious here:
You can be angry that the spill didn’t happen and justify that fury by unleashing your vitriol on Kevin Rudd for not making your predictions come true or;
You can justify your Rudd obsession by running the line that Gillard is ruining our lives and she’s an awful woman for not letting your mate the Ruddster and his gang of cool kids be the boss of her or;
You can eat your own darlings and vent all over your fellow press gallery members for obsessing about this to the point that perhaps the media was at least partially responsible for forcing Simon Crean’s hand. (Good luck with that.)
Step Five: Wail and pull your hair out, gnash your teeth and build a memorial shrine to Kim Carr and Martin Ferguson. Fergie and Carr were very upset that the Prime Minister constantly refused to do what they told her to do.
Who the hell did this woman think she was? Their leader?
No-one tells Fergie and Carr what to do! No-one! Except Hawke and Keating. Oh, and the unions. They can tell Fergie and Carr what to do because they’re good mates. But not this woman. NOT THIS WOMAN!!!!
Step Six: Start up a conspiracy theory. You’ve got two to choose from and neither take any brain power.
1. The Manipulative Bitch Theory: Julia Gillard was behind the whole thing. This will involve believing that Gillard managed to convince Simon Crean to make an absolute tit out of himself for the good of the party. It will also involve conveniently overlooking Crean’s bizarre decision to run for deputy, knowing no-one would vote for him and Rudd would never work with him. But none of that matters. What matters is that Gillard used her wily womanly ways, or hypnosis or something, and got Crean to do her bidding.
2. The Dumb Bitch Theory: Julia Gillard is some stupid woman run by faceless men (How do these poor faceless lads get around? How do they eat? Are they like air ferns? I digress). Everyone knew Gillard was useless and had to go. This will involve overlooking the fact that Crean didn’t know what Rudd was doing, and Rudd didn’t know what Crean was doing. We nearly handed over the country to two blokes who don’t know how to text message properly. And Gillard’s the dumb one…
Step Seven: Lose your tiny mind about the cabinet re-shuffle and how these new faces will ruin Our Great Nation. Of course, it would behove you to overlook the fact that, if you’re honest with yourself, you didn’t know who half of the blokes who resigned were in the first place.
Step Eight: If all else fails, go back to Step One and insist that Australia is on the verge of collapse and about to descend into street fighting and baby-eating. It’s much easier than using common sense or getting a sense of perspective.
Perhaps climate change is to blame for all of this. Now the hot weather has moved south, maybe going troppo is a nationwide phenomenon.
MORE STORIES BY CORINNE GRANT
*Corinne Grant is a stand-up comedian, MC, presenter, writer and broadcaster and has performed both nationally and internationally. In addition to her years on Rove Live and The Glasshouse, she has appeared on everything from Spicks and Specks to Dancing With The Stars to Good News Week. She has co-hosted successful national radio shows, performed countless solo live shows and appeared everywhere from the Sydney Opera House to the Kalgoorlie Arts Centre. Corinne’s first book, Lessons In Letting Go: Confessions of a Hoarder (Allen and Unwin) was released in September 2010 and went into reprint just months after its release. You can follow her on Twitter @corinne_grant.